South Africa's commitment to ensuring the protection of its black and white rhino populations is clear from the partnerships that have been built over the years and the resulting collaboration to conserve the species, says Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, Mrs. Barbara.
eerie As the world comes together to mark World Rhino Day, South Africa recognizes that despite pressures from rhino poaching, habitat loss and vulnerability to the effects of climate change, the country remains the state of the largest and potentially influential rhino range in the world.
The High Level Panel report has noted that the proportion of rhinos on private land has increased from around 30% in 2012 to around 60% today, complemented by successes against poaching.
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment has recognized the significant progress made in safety, biological management and responsive legislation with some critical milestones remaining, most notably in community empowerment, demand management and Cabinet approval of the National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking.
Therefore, we are entrusted with a great responsibility that requires all hands on deck.
In terms of the country's overall rhino conservation plan, the private sector is playing an increasingly important role in South Africa and the rest of Africa.
Currently, the private sector is keeping around 60% of South Africa's national herd.
For this reason, the government assumes the construction of alliances and relationships of great importance in the conservation of this iconic species.
The Department, in cooperation with provincial conservation authorities, SANParks, private rhino owners and SAPS, has focused on a more proactive and integrated approach that builds on existing initiatives and blurs the distinction made between national, provincial and private parks by time the situation escalates.
knowledge and information exchange.
Joint investigation teams are working on focused investigations with the support of the Environmental Enforcement Fusion Center (EEFC), ensuring the consolidation of information at the national level and the ability to provide analysis support, not only at the tactical level but also to the teams.
The goal is to strengthen our capacity, not only at the tactical level to prevent and combat poaching, but also our ability to disrupt activities throughout the value chain with a focus on integrated intelligence-driven investigations, including financial aspects.
Over the past year, anti-poaching and conservation efforts have intensified across the country as a joint effort by state conservation areas, government, and private landowners to reduce poaching.
rhinos in South Africa.
A more targeted deployment of resources is being implemented through the deployment of the CMORE situational awareness platform to integrated wildlife areas.
Through this single technology platform, all actors can collaborate, making use of real-time insights and analytical capabilities, linking, for example, camera traps and ranger patrols while integrating a range of other systems.
Information collected and communication flows through the Environmental Enforcement Fusion Center (EEFC) continue to support teams at both the tactical and strategic levels in the public and private sectors.
Our analytical capabilities have also improved, resulting in a greater ability to identify individuals involved in rhino poaching and trafficking and improved and expanded investigations by multi-disciplinary teams.
From a biological management standpoint, the department, in collaboration with the Rhino Management Group and all relevant stakeholders, is in the process of reviewing White Rhino Biodiversity Management Plans (BMPs).
and black, respectively.
Another important measure of recent success in managing the rhino metapopulation has been the successful translocation of 27 rhinos from South Africa to Zinave National Park in Mozambique.
This historic and pioneering reconstruction initiative is the result of a partnership between the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) of Mozambique, the Peace Parks Foundation and Exxaro Resources, in collaboration with the governments of South Africa and Mozambique.
Mozambique and South Africa.
Working on a two- to three-year timeline, the project is already well on its way to relocating more than 40 rhinos in Mozambique in a series of highly coordinated and carefully managed rebuilding operations.
The first 20 white rhinos and seven black rhinos introduced to Zinave earlier this year are thriving.
“95% of our poaching arrests are made with the help of sniffer dogs,” says Johan de Beer, K9 Manager, Kruger National Park of South African National Parks.
Hill's Pet Nutrition (www.HillsPet.com) currently sponsors more than 46 dogs in the Kruger National Park's K9 unit, two in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and 14 in other parks around the country.
"This heartwarming series not only recognizes the incredible role these dogs play in protecting our natural heritage, but also their incredible handlers who, through their commitment to working with the dogs, are making a real difference in the fight against poaching," says Dr. Guy Fyvie, manager of Veterinary Affairs for Hill's Pet Nutrition.
The series tells the personal stories of five of the dogs and their handlers: the companionship, perseverance and connection between them and the important bond with our natural environment.
It also raises awareness of the key organizations, protected areas and individuals on the ground who are working together to protect our natural heritage.” There are substantial costs involved with training, feeding and health care for the K9 unit dogs and Hill's Pet Nutrition has been proud to sponsor the units with food, equipment and medical care for the past decade," says Dr. Fyvie.
De Beer says this generous ongoing donation goes a long way in training and maintaining these dogs so they can perform at their best.
"We hope that by highlighting the work these dogs are doing, South Africans will help us keep our paws and boots on the ground and expand our K9 units."
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife: Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, located in KwaZulu-Natal, is often referred to as the "birthplace of the rhinoceros" as it was this area where the southern white rhinoceros was saved from the brink of extinction, more than half a century.
Under threat from poaching, the park must continually adopt and adapt methods to protect the species and ensure this crucial population is conserved into the future.
The park is home to the largest population of rhinos outside the Kruger National Park and is managed by the Provincial Conservation Authority, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
The Hluhluwe iMfolozi K9 Unit was revamped in 2020, and currently have two handlers and two Doberman/Bloodhound breeds named Ghost and Gecko that are classified as cold-scented dogs with the ability to follow scents that are up to eight hours old.
“The K9 unit has an incredible success rate and the deterrent of having such a unit on site can never be underestimated,” says Dennis Kelly, Makhamisa Section Ranger, Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
SANPARKS: “The K9 anti-poaching drive is seen as a game changer for South African National Parks,” says De Beer. Since its inception in 2012, the unit in the Kruger National Park has grown from three to 46 dogs.
Following great success, the project was expanded to other national parks with a total of 60 dogs now working across the country.
“Well-trained dog breeds like the Bloodhound, Belgian Shepherd and Malinois are perfectly suited to tracking poachers and detecting firearms, ammunition and wildlife products coming in and out of park gates” DeBeer says.
A brief synopsis of the episodes, the complete series can be viewed by visiting this link (https://bit.ly/3A4DLQz): Episode 1: Ghost Trail – Amidst the brutal realities of conservation, caring companions are formed.
Episode 2: Life Line – K9 anti-poaching teams put their lives on the line every day.
The keen senses and body language of dogs become invaluable to their handlers.
The risks are real and the outcome is unpredictable.
Episode 3: Together United - The fight against poaching cannot be tackled individually.
Successful anti-poaching units require the help of a team.
Episode 4: SEAM Team – An ongoing silent war is taking place within our calm oceans.
As human beings, we tend to create a commodity out of our national heritage.
Episode 5: Disconnect.
– connecting with our natural environment is learning from it, respecting it and loving it.
Together with Hill's Pet Nutrition, South Africans are being asked to help keep paws and boots on the ground by donating to K9 anti-poaching units.
Donations can be made here (https://bit.ly/3QOfLba) with all proceeds going to the SANParks K9 Unit and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife K9 Units.
“Helping to protect and conserve our planet and wildlife is of global importance to Hill's Pet Nutrition.
Wilderness and its inhabitants are where we go to keep our spirit alive and should be preserved for generations to come,” says Dr. Fyvie.
On Thursday 4th August 2022, Ms. Barbara Creecy, Minister for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, along with South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) board members and management visited the National Zoological Gardens (NZG ) from South Africa to review the installation.
contribution to biodiversity, research, scientific services, animal welfare, conservation, tourism and public awareness.
The Chairman of the SANBI Board, Professor Edward Nesamvuni, welcomed the Minister's visit as it provided him with the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of SANBI's state-of-the-art fundamental research and scientific services, in particular those activities that contribute positively in political action, regulation of wildlife.
services and associated enforcement and compliance.
“SANBI's work in scientific research and services including genetic and DNA profiling, veterinary services and the Biobank contributes significantly to information on biodiversity, species conservation, biodiversity and health, and the wildlife economy.
, in addition to combating wildlife crime,” said Minister Barbara.
hair-raising During her visit, the Minister had the opportunity to see facilities that include state-of-the-art equipment used for the development of marker-based systems to advance genomics research at the Center for Conservation Sciences.
Work includes next-generation sequencing, the development of genetic approaches to conduct phylogenetic assessments (using whole mitochondrial genomes or nuclear and mitochondrial sequence regions) within and between taxa, in order to understand evolutionary processes and patterns, as well as to identify species, units within species, management units or cryptic species.
The results of this process are valuable in ensuring informed conservation action for species that are subject to a variety of threats.
In the Genetic Services Unit, the Minister saw the tools, technologies and guidelines that are applied in wildlife forensics and used to expand wildlife DNA databases to ensure effective enforcement, testing defensible and credible forensics to mitigate wildlife crime and contribute to wildlife management.
"Through research, novel genetic tools for hybrid identification are applied in a variety of wildlife species with model thresholds for genetic testing," explained Professor Ramagwai Sebola, Chief Director: Foundational Biodiversity Science at SANBI.
"This is a service provided to SANParks, provincial conservation authorities/agencies, and the wildlife industry to maintain the genetic integrity and report on the genetic status of wildlife populations."
The Minister also visited the animal hospital and the veterinary unit that handles animal operations and autopsies with high-tech equipment.
During the visit, the Minister gave a tour of the facilities demonstrating SANBI's commitment to a One Health approach that focuses on the distribution, prevalence and epidemiology of pathogens and the development of a database to assess risks and impact for develop response strategies.
for wildlife disease threats.
The visit included the Biobank where biological materials are preserved for future research and decision-making that contribute to the conservation of species.
In line with the commemoration of the inaugural Marine Protected Areas Day, on 1 August 2022, the Minister visited the aquarium, the largest indoor aquarium in South Africa, and reiterated the importance of protecting marine ecosystems for ecological, social and economic.
The Draft White Paper on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in South Africa has been published by the Minister for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms. Barbara Creecy, for public comment.
The call was published in the Official Gazette 46687 (Notice No. 2252) on July 8, 2022 in terms of the National Environmental Management Law: Biodiversity.
In June 2022, Cabinet approved the draft White Paper on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa's Biodiversity for public comment, emphasizing that "South Africa's biodiversity provides an important foundation for economic growth and development, and is essential for people's livelihoods".
Despite a variety of laws and policies on biodiversity and sustainable use, biodiversity loss continues to threaten ecosystem health and species survival, with negative impacts on livelihoods and the economy. Global change, habitat loss and degradation, invasive alien species, overharvesting and illegal harvesting threaten South Africa's biodiversity.
More than two decades since democracy, the biodiversity sector remains substantially unchanged and there is inequality in access to benefits arising from biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. In addition, the sector has not reached its potential in terms of contribution to the national economy and the Growth of Domestic Product (GDP). Biodiversity and its use is a catalytic engine of rural economies, and the value chains that emerge from it must be fully realized.
The draft White Paper gives effect to the recommendations made by the High Level Panel of Experts (HLP) appointed in 2019 to review our current policies, legislation and practices regarding the management, breeding, hunting and trade of elephants, lions, leopards and rhinos. and manipulation.
The HLP recommendations provide a very clear path on how to address the key challenges in the sector. The HLP consulted extensively, including with various spheres of government, wildlife industry stakeholders, conservation and animal welfare NGOs, as well as traditional leaders, traditional healers, and communities adjacent to the "big five" protected areas in the northwest, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Eastern Cape.
The voices of these stakeholders feature strongly in his report and informed many of the HLP's recommendations. The HLP highlighted the importance of transforming the sector, with the empowerment and training of communities living with wildlife, and the recognition of their traditions and culture, as practiced by traditional leaders and traditional healers.
The HLP recommended the development of a White Paper for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa's Biodiversity and noted the need for a shift towards an Africanized approach to conservation, encompassing the diverse cultures, traditions and knowledge systems in South Africa, and value such as Ubuntu. The HLP also emphasized the need for a more holistic approach to sustainable use, ensuring responsible and humane use of South Africa's biodiversity, and an end to bad and harmful practices, such as those associated with the captive lion industry. Importantly, a White Paper must also ensure transformation, with access and benefit to communities adjacent to protected areas, as well as previously disadvantaged people.
The Department has worked closely with SANBI, SANParks and our partners in the provinces to draft the White Paper. The draft White Paper sets out a vision of "A prosperous nation, living in harmony with nature, where biodiversity is conserved for present and future generations, and ensures equitable livelihoods and improved human well-being."
To achieve this, the mission is “To conserve South Africa's biodiversity and maintain and/or restore ecological integrity, connectivity, processes and systems, with resulting ecosystem services that provide transformative socio-economic development benefits to the nation, through of justifiable, responsible processes and the ecologically sustainable and socially equitable use of the components of biodiversity”. The result of this is summarized in the "Prosperous People and Nature" impact statement. The draft White Paper also sets out important principles that will guide future policy, legislation and decision-making across the sector.
There is a need for us to do things differently! Through the White Paper, South Africa will adopt an enabling definition and understanding of biodiversity conservation that frees South Africa from the shackles of the past and emphasizes constitutional imperatives within environmental law, but also improves the well-being of people in consonance with Ubuntu.
In addition, the White Paper will reshape the ecologically sustainable use of biodiversity components, in a way that highlights the responsibilities incumbent on use, including ensuring the persistence of species and the ecological integrity of ecosystems. Social responsibilities are also emphasized, ensuring that ongoing benefits to people are fair, equitable and meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations. Furthermore, in the case of animals, the use must be humane and not compromise their welfare.
Furthermore, the White Paper proposes to adopt an Ubuntu philosophical framework for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, emphasizing an African approach that is consistent with the traditions, culture, knowledge and aspirations of Africans in terms of defining their wellness.
This will empower communities and traditional leaders and healers as influential and impactful leaders of the sector, and as equal and significant participants, as well as to secure and enhance the spiritual and sacred contribution of nature to people, especially highlighting the close connection of Africans with nature and the environment, and to live in harmony with nature.
The White Paper emphasizes partnerships and the adoption of participatory and consensual approaches across the biodiversity sector, which will promote the meaningful participation and influence of all stakeholders, with communal rather than individual outcomes.
These changes will provide a clear understanding of South Africa's intention and aspirations, in terms of promoting conservation to achieve protection of the environment for present and future generations, as well as ensuring ecologically sustainable use to promote justifiable economic and social development. .
“The White Paper will be relevant to the historical, socio-economic and environmental context of South Africa, and the aspirations and needs of the people: it is a New Deal to ensure that people not only live in harmony with nature, but that both people and nature will prosper,” Minister Creecy said.
To access the Government Gazette, please click: https://www.dffe.gov.za/sites/default/files/gazetted_notices/wha_g46687gon2252.pdf
Several stakeholders have committed to finding a lasting solution to the problem of baboon management in the city of Cape Town.
The compromise follows a stakeholder engagement discussion in Cape Town led by the Minister for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy, who was joined by the Deputy Mayor of Cape Town, Cllr Councilor Eddie Andrews , SAN Parks and Cape Nature.
A number of stakeholders and affected parties were also in attendance who pledged to ensure that sustainable solutions for baboon management are realized in Table Mountain National Park, the City of Cape Town and other protected areas.
At this meeting, the three Managing Authorities (SANParks, Cape Nature and the City of Cape Town) agreed:establish a joint Task Force; develop and continue to develop a sustainable program for the management of the Chacma baboon population on the Cape Peninsula; and that the first meeting of the task force will take place within the next two weeks
Baboons occur naturally on the Cape Peninsula and their numbers have increased in recent decades.
Residents applauded Minister Creecy for engaging stakeholders and appreciated the spirit of collaboration in addressing the immediate problem of baboon troops in the area.
SANParks, Cape Nature and the City have agreed to work on a Memorandum of Understanding to govern Baboon Management on the Cape Peninsula.
The minister urged all stakeholders to forge a close partnership that will be guided by science and research. This will give us the best result.
Working on Fire had deployed 196 firefighters and management and 18 vehicles, 9 aircraft to assist the fire authorities in Overberg (Kleinmond) with firefighting.CAPE TOWN, South Africa, January 17, 2022/APO Group/ --
On Tuesday 18 January 2022, the Minister for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms. Barbara Creecy, will visit the Kleinmond area following the fire that destroyed 5,417 ha of vegetation and left one structure burned.
Last week, Minister Creecy announced that, in the interest of public accountability, the Director General of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) has requested the Acting Director General of SANParks to carry out an assessment of the fire. Tomorrow's visit will allow Minister Creecy to glimpse the extent of the damage caused by the fire, while she awaits the report whose evaluation, once processed, will be made public.
Last week, the Department's Working on Fire deployed ground and air assets to assist with fire suppression efforts in the area. Working on Fire had deployed 196 firefighters and management and 18 vehicles, 9 aircraft to assist the fire authorities in Overberg (Kleinmond) with firefighting. A total of 134 additional firefighters and management from local municipalities and agencies (Overberg District Municipality, Overstrand Municipality and Cape Nature) were also deployed to douse the flames.
Minister Creecy will meet with firefighters to personally thank them for their efforts.
Three observation aircraft and two Huey helicopters and a Black Hawk have been deployed since Saturday to provide additional aerial firefighting capability.CAPE TOWN, South Africa, January 11, 2022 / APO Group / -
Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, Ms Minister Barbara Creecy praised some 300 firefighters who have been fighting the blaze in the Overberg region of the Western Cape since Saturday.
The fire, which reportedly started at the Department's pine plantation in the Kleinmond area, has destroyed more than 4,000 hectares of vegetation.
“The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment is observing with concern the fire that broke out in Kleinmond in the Western Cape. As a matter of course, the Area Fire Protection Association (Overberg) is expected to compile a fire report on the facts related to the source / origins of the fire, Minister Creecy said.
“In the interest of public accountability, the Director General of the Department has asked the Acting Executive Director of SANParks to conduct an assessment of the Kleinmond fire. SANParks services have been hired as they have internal capacities to carry out an evaluation of this nature. The scope of the assessment will include the origins and causes of the fire, if there were fire breaks and other preventive measures and any other factor that could have exacerbated the fire, ”said the Minister.
Once the evaluation has been received and processed by the Department, the findings and recommendations will be made public.
The Fire Work Department is on the ground and air resources continue to assist with suppression efforts at the Klienmond fire in the Overberg District of the Western Cape.
Working on Fire has deployed 169 firefighters and management, including helicopter pilots and support personnel, five fire trucks, two transport buses and three bakkies to assist fire authorities in Overberg (Kleinmond) with ongoing fire suppression efforts. from Saturday January 8th. 2022. A total of 116 additional firefighters from local municipalities have been deployed.
Since Saturday, three observation aircraft and two Huey and one Black Hawk helicopters have been deployed to provide additional aerial fire suppression capability. Additional air assets remain on hold at Stellenbosch Airfield and Newlands Fire Base. Helicopters and planes have already made 284 drops of water during 65 hours in the air.
Our WoF teams are assisting the Overberg District Municipality, Overstrand Municipality, Provincial Disaster Management, Cape Nature and the Department.
One structure has reportedly burned down, with no loss of life so far.
Since the summer fire season officially began in the Western Cape on December 1, 2021, including Kleinmond, the team has helped fight and extinguish 22 fires across the province.
The fire in the Kleinmond area of Overberg has been fueled by high temperatures and hurricane-force winds. The forest fire is also believed to have burned most intensely in areas plagued with invasive exotic vegetation. However, the fynbos, which is destroyed during a forest fire, depends on fire to germinate and thrive.
South African Police have arrested two suspected rhino poaching “kingpins’’ known for targeting the Kruger National Park, a major tourist destination.
The suspects, Mandla Mashele, 37 and Kelvin Malapane, 38 are also known to be supplying the Southeast Asian market with the illegal horn.
The two men have already appeared in court charged with possession of four horns, Police and the South African National Parks (SANParks) said in a joint press conference on Tuesday.
“We have disrupted the supply chain from the Kruger National Park.
“They are the orchestrators involved with the acquiring of rhino horn from the park, then facilitating that for the export markets for Southeast Asia,’’ said Johan Jooste, who leads the anti-poaching unit.
In a post on its Facebook page, SANParks called the arrest of “two rhino poaching kingpins’’, after a two-year investigation, “a major breakthrough.’’
The trade in rhino horn has been banned for decades, but demand in Asia, where it is believed to be an aphrodisiac, can see it sell for tens of thousands of dollars per kilogramme in the black market.
A total of 1,028 rhino were killed in 2017 in South Africa and there are only about 20,000 to 25,000 rhinos left in Africa.
Edited by: Abigael Joshua/Abdulfatah Babatunde
South African rangers on Monday continued searching for four male lions that escaped from the country’s flagship Kruger National Park, a spokesman for the national wildlife parks said.
SANParks spokesperson William Mabasa said that the lions were seen near a road a few kilometres from the park.
It was not known how the lions got out of the park, most of which is fenced.
The Tourism and Parks Agency of Mpumalanga province, where part of the Kruger Park is located, said it was helping rangers and police in their search.
“We urge the communities to be alert and inform us of any sightings,’’ said Johannes Nobunga, chief executive officer of the agency.
“The terrain in which the search is being conducted poses some challenges for the team, however we will continue to work with farm owners and the community in the area to provide us with any information that will assist us with this operation,’’ he added in a statement.
The escape of the four lions followed that of five lions in May.
Four of them were captured and taken back to the park, but the fifth one has not been found,’’ Mabasa said it may have returned to the park by itself.
He said that lions occasionally wander out of the Kruger Park, a wildlife area the size of Israel.
“Sometimes an entire year passes without lions escaping, and in other years we have a few cases of them escaping,’’ Mabasa said.
Edited by: Abigael Joshua/Sadiya Hamza
South African rangers and police on Tuesday captured four of five lions that had escaped from the country’s flagship Kruger National Park, the national wildlife parks’ authority said.
The lions had been sighted on Monday at a road crossing in the town of Komatipoort near the Mozambican border.
Three of them were eventually spotted outside the park, SANParks spokesman Reynold Thakhuli said.
“A helicopter is going up now. The lions will be darted and brought back to the park,” he added.
Thakhuli subsequently confirmed that four of the lions had been captured, and that rangers were still looking for the fifth one.
It was not known how the lions had escaped from Kruger Park, a wildlife area the size of Israel, most of which is fenced.